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Pride in London to return for first time since racism scandal

Author: Josh Milton

London Mayor Sadiq Khan during the parade at Pride in London 2019. (Tristan Fewings/Getty for Pride in London)

An overhauled Pride in London will return this summer in partnership with UK Black Pride.

Pride in London has been twice cancelled due to the pandemic, while complaints of racism and bullying within its highest levels led to the organisation’s co-chairs stepping down last year.

The event, which draws some 1.5 million each year, will make its return this summer, on 2 July, with a promise to do better.

“We are excited for the return of Pride in London and the opportunity for the LGBT+ community to come together to celebrate our diversity, progress, and individuality,” Pride in London’s executive director Christopher Joell-Deshields said in a statement.

Pride in London 2022 will see a new partnership with UK Black Pride, “to jointly celebrate the diversity of the LGBT+ community and the story of Pride, together”.

While Pride in London was under its former leadership, it had been given a wide berth by UK Black Pride, Europe’s largest celebration of and for queer people of African, Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American and Caribbean heritage.

Even before the public reckoning that took place last year, Pride in London had been labelled exclusionary by many queer Black folk, people of colour and other marginalised communities.

Pride in London promises to ‘evolve’ after biting accounts of racism and bullying

In March 2021, Pride in London’s then senior-most Black staffer, director of communications Rhammel Afflick, quit citing concerns regarding racism at the top of the organisation.

Afflick said leadership “ignored Black voices” and had created a “a hostile environment” for volunteers. This disdain also extended towards the wider community, he said.

“Even with the kind of strong, outspoken Black people that have been part of Pride in London, whenever we’ve been able to do something that is different, important, that represents different parts of communities, it’s been undermined and rendered pointless,” Afflick told PinkNews at the time.

A wave of staff, including the non-profit’s entire oversight board, followed him in resigning.

Pride in London’s co-chairs and five senior directors all later stepped down in unison amid simmering criticism, with new leaders vowing to insitgate real change.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan agreed drastic measures were needed. He told PinkNews that the event needs to be “reset and refreshed” to ensure that the division is repaired.

Joell-Deshields, who was appointed to the leadership role following the resignations of co-chairs Michael Salter-Church and Alison Camp, vowed in March 2021 to create space for “queer people of colour to feel safe, be seen, be heard, be respected and be celebrated within the organisation”.

“The leadership team will drive the dynamics of a cultural change that uproots all forms of discrimination,” he said, with a promise to diversify the Pride in London leadership team so it is “at least 50 per cent representative of minority and ethnic voices”.

Huge crowd of participants with rainbow colours during the parade. The biggest ever, Pride In London parade in central London.
Huge crowd of participants with rainbow colours during the parade. (Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty)

Pride in London 2022 will feature four weeks of community-produced events that celebrate the diversity of LGBT+ culture.

“Pride’s Got Talent”, an annual competition for emerging queer performers, will also return.

“The Pride movement continues to evolve,” Joell-Deshields said.

“Organisers across the UK and the world share a collective mission to elevate our community’s voice and raise awareness of the inequality and injustices locally, nationally and globally.”

Actual Story on Pink News
Author: Josh Milton

My name is David but my online nick almost everywhere is Altabear. I'm a web developer, graphic artist and outspoken human rights (and by extension, mens rights) advocate. Married to my gorgeous husband for 10 years, together for 24 and living with our partner of 1.5 years, in beautiful Edmonton, Canada.

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